Darren Keen’s Bad Speler signed; Devo on commission; Soapbox time again; Andrew Jackson Jihad tonight…

Category: Blog — @ 12:50 pm June 16, 2010

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

First off, Column 275 (printed in this week’s issue of The Reader) combined the Landing on the Moon and Mountain Goats reviews posted here last week, along with the Workers Takeout closing mention. Among the comments posted on the MG review was someone pointing out that not only will bands cover the Hold Steady, but that the Mountain Goats covered Hold Steady’s “Positive Jam” late last year. So take that, mofo.

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Darren Keen (The Show Is the Rainbow, High Art) emailed last week to say that his laptop project, Bad Speler, just got signed to Illegal Arts Records, the home of Girl Talk (among others). Keen said Bad Speler will record everything digitally and put it online using a pay-what-you-want model that Radiohead pioneered and performers like Jeremy Messersmith continue to use. Keen plans to produce a free mix tape every four to six weeks, (edit) each 40 to 60 minutes long. “We are going to use the money raised from the mix tapes to release an album that I’m gonna put together that will be a little more focused and produced then the mixes,” Keen said.

I get the feeling that the “free” or “pay-what-you-want” approach to music distro is going to become more and more common as the industry continues to slowly erode. Is there an easier way to get your music out there and heard? Then there’s the approach that everyone’s favorite new wave band, Devo, has taken — write and record songs on commission. In a recent interview on APR’s Marketplace (recording and transcript here), Devo’s Gerald Casale talked about how “Watch Us Work It,” off their new album, was commissioned by Dell for a series of PC commercials.

(host) Kai Ryssdal: Did I read some place you actually prefer your music to be commissioned, that’s the way you like to do it?

Casale: Well, at this point, what’s happened is, artists no longer make a living by selling music. They only make a living by tour grosses, merchandising receipts and having their songs licensed to commercials video games or films. That’s it. Trying to make a living as a recording artist, that’s the only way you’re going to survive.

Amazing how the concept of “selling out” has turned 180 degrees over the past decade.

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For all you backyard mechanics, here’s a head’s up about Speed! Nebraska’s second annual Soapbox Riot, Saturday July 17. Like last year, the adult soapbox derby will he held at Seymour Smith Park, 72nd & Washington. To take part, just drop by O’Leaver’s Pub and register. Then start building your chariot. If I remember correctly, Mercy Rule’s Jon Taylor won last year’s derby, but paid the price when he took a header along the course and ripped open one of his arms. This is, indeed, a blood sport. After the festivities (at 9 p.m.), O’Leaver’s will host a Speed! Nebraska after-race showcase for the survivors, featuring Mercy Rule, Ideal Cleaners, Wagon Blasters, The Mezcal Brothers, The Third men and Techlepathy. Fun!

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Tonight at Slowdown Jr., it’s a punk show featuring Phoenix folk-punkers Andrew Jackson Jihad along with Destroy Nate Allen, Thunderbolts and Hoof Hearted. $10, 8 p.m.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2010 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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